Mr. Andy Stewart
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what work is being undertaken by the Clinical Standards Advisory Group.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales and I have asked the Clinical Standards Advisory Group to undertake studies with the following terms of referenceTo advise on access to, and availability of, selected National Health Service specialist services, with particular reference to the referral of patients across District boundaries to regional and national centres. Your investigations will consider, but not be limited to, the effects of the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 in a representative sample of National Health Service regions and boards. The four services you have selected are: neo-natal intensive care; cystic fibrosis; childhood leukaemia; and coronary artery bypass grafting.To advise on standards of clinical care for patients admitted to hospital urgently or as emergencies. Your investigations will consider the time patients wait for diagnosis and treatment in the 24 hours after arrival at a hospital, and the factors influencing these times including events prior to arrival, in a representative sample of National Health Service hospitals. You will select several clinical conditions for more detailed investigation, including if possible the effect on health outcomes of variations in the time patients wait.To advise on standards of clinical care for women in normal labour. Your investigations will include variations in clinical protocols for and practice in the management of women having their first child in a representative sample of labour wards in National Health Service hospitals. You will also investigate the use of cortico-steroids in cases of premature labour.To advise on standards of clinical care for people with diabetes. Your investigations will include reviews of existing statements of clinical standards, of the standards specified in National Health Service contracts, and of arrangements for auditing the delivery of services to contracted standards, in a representative sample of National Health Service districts and hoards.
I have also welcomed the advisory group's intention to undertake preparatory work on hospital acquired infections and on community health care for the elderly before deciding whether the group wishes to propose studies in these areas; and to keep other areas of clinical care under review.